Mikey Assumes The Role Of Teacher In Birthright #37

by James Ferguson

With both Earth and Terrenos in danger, Mikey has joined forces with the government to train soldiers in magical combat. With everything they’re up against, will it be enough to stop this imminent threat and save both worlds? If emotions keep running as high as they’ve been, the outlook doesn’t look very promising.

Mikey’s journey in Birthright is fascinating as he’s now in the role of the teacher. We’ve seen him bristle against authority and rebel against his trainers both here and on Terrenos. Now he’s put into the position to guide others and keep them safe. He’s not accustomed to this level of responsibility. While he’s taking to it, Mikey still has a lot to learn. It will be interesting to see how he continues to grow into this role with everyone depending on him. Writer Joshua Williamson frames this new perspective well.

Fortunately, Mikey isn’t doing this alone. He has his family with him. That’s been the key to Birthright and I’m happy to see it continue into this arc. While they all love each other, there are numerous disagreements and heated arguments. These aren’t your typical family squabbles either. These are life and death decisions that need to be made so the tension is rather high.

Artist Andrei Bressan excels at the fantasy elements of Terrenos and Birthright #37 shows how these creatures and aspects of that foreign world are invading our own. It’s cool to see Mikey’s grandfather, Samael transform from a normal old man into his mage persona. He’s not frail by any means, but the difference is like night and day. Suddenly this friendly looking guy has changed into a threatening supernatural being.

The magical elements crackle on the page with such energy. Colorist Adriano Lucas adds an electric effect to these aspects. This further differentiates our world from Terrenos. When something unnatural bleeds through, you notice. It pops to signify that this is not normal and we should be wary.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the fantasy parts of Birthright. Bressan outdoes himself with some incredible monster designs showing the scale and variety of the creatures coming over from Terrenos. You might see pieces that remind you of other monsters, like the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz or orcs from The Lord of the Rings, but that’s where the similarities end. Bressan drives home the terrifying nature of this other world and how these beings don’t play by our rules.

Birthright #37 also gives us a glimpse into Samael’s past and the sacrifices he made to keep the world safe. With family being such a central theme to this comic, it’s heartbreaking to see how he turned his back on his wife and son to pursue this. The look on his boy’s face when he has to leave hits like a punch to the gut. This perspective puts some of his present day actions in context, along with his troubled relationship with the rest of the family.

We see this flashback as an interstitial in the issue as something reminds Samael about a moment from his past. Letterer Pat Brosseau signifies Samael’s drift with a shrinking font. This shows how the character’s mind wanders away from the present which is something we’re all familiar with.

We’ve seen Mikey overcome insane obstacles in his hero’s journey so far. Now he’s up against something new and equally frightening, albeit in a new position. He is not the upstart young boy anymore. Now he’s a grown leader with all eyes on him. With his family by his side, I have no doubt that he’ll rise to the challenge.

Birthright #37 from Image Comics & Skybound Entertainment is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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